Content of the article: "Getting players engaged after time off – help!"
So I'm a novice DM and we're all new to the game, so be gentle! While we've all DM'd, I've taken on role as sort of main DM/organiser so I thought this was the best place to ask. I also realise having written it that this is a bit rambling, but hopefully someone can help out. Also didn't know if this should be in problem player threat, but thought it was a bit more general than that..?
Myself and some friends started playing DnD March last year when lockdown started, and we were all a bit sceptical to start but we got LMoP as an intro. Someone else in the group DM'd and he did a good job considering we'd never played before, but we decided we'd all have a go at DM'ing to see who enjoyed it most/was best. I was up next and tried a homebrew campaign (I know, probably premature but I had a lot of time on my hands and had an idea in mind) and it started out really well, but it got complicated when more people wanted to join and then didn't commit to sessions and so on and so forth, and the campaign died just before the big finale session. I was disheartened cause I'd worked so hard on the campaign and the main group kept telling me how much they enjoyed it, but it went weeks without people committing to a session and after that we couldn't be bothered to start up. We tried again, this time DM number 3 with a one-shot homebrew campaign. He really enjoyed DMing and did a really good job IMO, considering all he had a sheet of A4 notes – it was fun, funny, engaging. At this point we had all enjoyed both DM and as PCs, but we all got busy so stopped playing.
We decided to retry, rotating DMs again and using a free one-shot campaign we found. This DM was… less than great. One of the main problems was they basically told us what we should do all the time, and wouldn't let us figure it out. They're also not a great storyteller so it was a bit flat and uncreative. When it came to the second session one player (my boyfriend, sort of relevant) said they really didn't want to and said he didn't like playing, didn't want to do it anymore etc. so we all just gave up. I asked him and turns out he hated the way the last person DM'd, and also has to be in just the right mood to play (fair enough), so since then we haven't played any as it seems mean to exclude 1 person in the house while the rest of us play. He's said he could give it a go, but not sure if he's just being nice to me to not hurt my feelings or whatever. People also have a hard time committing in general to our games, and I'm not sure how to go about this other than just letting them control it.
So – I'm asking for advice as to how you'd tackle this? The 3 of us still want to play, he's not really saying yes or no, another friend who has played before is really keen when he's back in the area. I want to get him in for 1 session and see if I can find a way for him to enjoy it again and I think one way forward would be to do a one-shot that's on the more humorous, less serious side. He did really enjoy it but I feel like that's faded. Or would you go about it another way? And generally, how to do you tackle commitment issues? Would you just let it go? We all live together so I don't want to exclude anyone…and I want everyone to enjoy it
TIA for any suggestions, just really want to get back into it!
TLDR: players put off after a bad DM, but we all live together and want to find an enjoyable way back into playing without excluding anyone! Suggestions for short funny campaigns, good ways to make engaging content etc.
- One of my players just asked for help learning to DM! I’ve never felt so honored, and I’m so excited for them.
- I feel like I am one step away from not liking my homebrew campaign. Can I avoid crossing that line or is it inevitable?
- How to deal with players who don’t even show up to your sessions.
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